GET FIT: Anatomy of a weight loss
In the course of about a year, Mike Blasquez has transformed his life.
He made a commitment to getting healthy, and he did. He lost almost 70 pounds, ran a half-marathon and is now opening a 24-hour gym to help others follow in his path.
Rather than focus only on his success, however, this article is going to break down the process he went through to achieve that success.
Those of you who have made that pledge to yourselves to get healthy can use this as a guide. If you haven’t gotten started, let his story be your motivation.
At a corporate meeting last June, the sales leaders in Mike Blasquez’s office were challenged to get fit. The goal was to lose 7 percent of their body weight in six months.
Struggling with being overweight most of his life, Blasquez weighed 272 pounds at the time. He was too tired to play with his kids Tyler, 11, and Christopher, 5.
And he felt the sluggish economy pressing down on him as well.
“I couldn’t control the economy,” he said. “I needed something I could control.”
So, along with seven others, he joined the challenge.
As a branch manager for a transportation company, Blasquez was on the road about three days a week.
“I always had an excuse as to why I couldn’t maintain a proper weight. I had to eat out all the time, and it was too hard to find time to exercise,” he said. “But they were just excuses.”
He knew he had to change, but he wasn’t sure how to do it.
“I knew I needed help. I couldn’t do it myself.”
So he signed up with Jenny Craig, a national weight-loss counseling center that provides nutrition guidelines along with pre-packaged meals tailored to each customer’s plan.
“I am a huge fan of the program,” he said. “They helped me get my life on track.”
As the challenge moved forward, four people dropped out. But Blasquez and three others continued to spur each other on. They committed to running a half marathon together the following March.
“Everybody fed off each other’s energy to hold each other accountable,” he said. “You can’t do it yourself. You need to surround yourself with people who support you.”
In order to complete the half marathon and to speed up his weight loss, Blasquez decided to incorporate exercise into his plan.
In August, he went to the track at the high school near his Reno home to see how fast he could run a mile.
“I could barely make one lap,” he recalled.
Rather than be discouraged, he set a goal to get better.
“I would run one lap, then walk the next one,” he said. “I kept building on that until I built up my stamina and ability.”
But he worried he wouldn’t be able to sustain it.
“I knew I had a long road to go,” he said. “I wondered, do I have enough time in the day to continue to do what I need to do to reach my ultimate goal?”
It came down to, he said, “simple math.”
He created a chart with a column to track his exercise, his weight each day and his target weight loss for the week.
“I would populate each of those cells each week, and I would chart my progress,” he said. “If I didn’t meet my goal one week, I could go back and look at the weeks where I did meet my goal and see what I did differently.”
By March, he was ready to run. His three co-workers joined him in the annual Shamrock Half Marathon in Sacramento.
“It was a huge accomplishment for me personally,” he said. “The emotion coming across the finish line was something I’d never experienced before.”
Finishing his race, though, was just the beginning. Not only had his three co-workers joined him, but he’d recruited his sister, sister-in-law and two brothers-in-law as well.
His pride multiplied, he said, as he cheered on his friends and family.
“It just kind of snowballed,” he said. “They saw how much energy I had and they wanted to get on the bus.”
Next year, he hopes the crowd will grow.
Changing Your Life
On the piano in his home is a framed picture of himself before he started.
His wife, Michelle, keeps it there next to a current photo as a constant reminder of how far he’s come.
At 208 pounds now, he weighs less than he did on the day he got married.
“My wife is thrilled,” he said.
But he always remains conscious that “it can get out of control if you don’t watch it.”
He knew along with a lifestyle change, he probably needed a livelihood change as well. He wanted to travel less and spend more time with his children.
“One day when I was working out at the gym, the light bulb came on,” he said. “Mike, this is where you need to be,” he realized.
He discussed with his wife in November the idea of opening a gym. In February, he signed the agreement to open an Anytime Fitness in south Carson City. The club will open in late June.
“I’m extremely passionate about my life turning around,” he said. “My hope is to be able to work with people and mentor them toward some greater physical fitness. This is the perfect way to do it.”
Whether people join a gym or hit the trails or join a fitness class, he encourages everyone to find some way to get active and improve their diets.
“Whatever fits into your world is what you’ve got to do,” he said.
About Anytime Fitness
The 4,000-square-foot gym will open in late June at 4530 S. Carson St., suite 7. Members will receive a card that will grant them 24-hour access.
Limited memberships will give users easy access to a non-intimidating environment, said owner Mike Blasquez.
A well-lit parking lot and robust security system will help make members feel safe at all hours. Locker rooms will feature private showers.
Personal trainers and nutritionists will be available.
“I’ve been successful because of support,” Blasquez said. “I want to create a home gym away from home.”
Reservations are being accepted in advance at $29 per month. Once it opens, rates will go up but won’t exceed $35 a month, according to Blasquez.
Tours of the club are being offered.
Contact Blasquez to sign up or receive a tour at CarsonCityNV@anytimefitness.com or 885-7771.
Learn more at anytimefitness.com.